Monday, July 04, 2011

Just before the nation's Centellial

"The community around Oyster Bay are greatly excited over an abortion case that has been brought to light."

The woman, Miss Bertram, was engaged to a New York man. The wedding was to take place on July 4, 1875. But Miss Bertram became pregnant before the wedding. She purchased an abortifacient which didn't have the effect she desired, so she took some other sort of abortifacient.

This second abortifacient did the job, leading to the birth of a near-term infant, which was buried in a potato patch. (This sort of "Oops! That one was a little bigger than I expected. Let's just dispose of the body." still goes on. If you're interested I'll do an entire post on examples.)

Miss Bertram herself took ill and died a few days later.

The physician who was attending her declared the cause of death to be the abortion.

Miss Bertram's fiance denied being the father of the dead baby. "There is a suspicion entertained of another young man". Police began an investigation into who he might be, and into who sold Miss Bertram the fatal drugs.

This unfaithfulness to her fiance certainly explains why Miss Bertram didn't want him to know about her baby.

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